Monday, March 29, 2010

Almost as clutzy as me

I'm in Tahoe this week for a little ski vacay. You know--all this beginner hockey stuff is just exhausting.

Saw this video on Puck Daddy and it reminded me of a more graceful version of one of my rushes on the net. I'm too much of a tech idiot to get the YouTube link to publish as a link.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, March 26, 2010

Who do you want Kings to play in the playoffs?

Thanks to the NHL's liberal rules that allow a majority of the team's leagues into the playoffs, the Los Angeles Kings are almost certainly going to the post-season barring a catastrophic collapse in the next two weeks.

But how good are the Kings?

Throughout the season I've been trying to keep an eye on the transparent standings published occasionally by the New York Times. The transparent standings are a bit old-school, as they separate how a team performs in regulation from how it does in overtime.

The NHL standings, on the other hand, only show wins-losses-overtime losses. The standings do not show how many wins were the result of winning the skills competition at the end of overtime -- i.e. the shootout.

In the transparent standings, as of Friday morning, the Kings have a record of 30-25-18 in regulation, meaning they win 41% of their games in regulation. But they've excelled in overtime, going 12-6, including a 9-5 record in the shootout.

One team the Kings should be scared of is the Vancouver Canucks. They are 40-25-10 in regulation time for a win percentage of 53% in regulation. The Canucks are 6-4 in overtime as of Tuesday and 3-3 in the shootout. But who cares about the pedestrian OT stats? More often than not, the Canucks only need 60 minutes to put teams away.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Looking for players for beginner's team in Pasadena spring league

After about a year of learning to skate and play the game, some guys (myself included) from my Wednesday night clinic at the Pasadena rink are forming a team for the spring league. It's lower division, meaning you don't have to be a superstar to play -- in fact, you don't have to be any good at all -- and we still need a few players to complete our roster.

In the past, the rink has just had one league that lumped together players of all skill levels. They're wisely breaking it up into lower and upper division leagues for the spring league, which will have games starting late Sunday afternoon and then going through the evening.

Here's some more information on the Pasadena Ice Skating Center's website. The first games are the night of April 11 and the regular season concludes June 27. It's $300 for the season and players must be at least 18 years old. It's co-ed and our team welcomes any women who can stand both our company and bad passes on the ice.

My team has five players committed plus we're going to be assigned a goalie by the league manager at the rink. I think we're going to get a couple more players from the clinic but ideally we'd like to have 10 to 12 players, given that not everyone will be able to make every game and some of us are oxygen-challenged. The idea of a 60-minute shift is not appealing. 

We're doing this because the idea for most of us all along has been to play real games. But most of us still have a long ways to go to polish our games -- at any given time we're prone to failing to stop properly, making insanely poor passes and moving as slow as molassas. And we're all really nice guys -- seriously!

If you're interested in playing, contact me at

Monday, March 22, 2010

For a day, marathoners make hockey players look like a bunch of pussies

I tried to think of a gentler headline for this post. Really, I did. But ultimately I thought it best to allow the truth to prevail and say it like it is.

I spent yesterday watching the Los Angeles marathon from a bunch of different places: the start, mile 12 in WeHo and between mile 23 in Brentwood and the finish line in Santa Monica. To make a long story short, I was going to participate in the race, but a knee injury sidelined me but I went anyway to cheer along a running buddy and to watch what I believe is one of the greatest spectacles in sport: the 26.2 mile footrace.

Once upon a time, I was a sportswriter. That job entailed watching pro athletes compete at the highest level of sport, often for great sums of money. It was fun. And it certainly gave me an appreciation for the pressure on professional athletes to not just give their best effort, but win. Always.

Marathons take that premise and stand it on its head. The vast majority of participants are not paid -- rather they pay to participate. Almost no one "wins" in the sense that they're the fastest. Except for family and friends, most of the racers are anonymous, with maybe their first name on their bibs. And, unlike pro athletes who compete often, marathoners typically train for hundreds of hours over many months, hoping it will pay off in a three- to six-hour span on race day.

And finally there is the issue of pain. All the smiles I saw on runners at the start were pretty much gone by mile 12. At mile 23, most runners looked like people who wouldn't even understand the concept of a smile. The mile marker corresponded with the end of a long, slow climb up San Vicente Boulevard -- when I arrived there on my bike it was just in time to see one young gentlemen sidle up to the grass median and projectile vomit for a spell.

Monday, March 1, 2010

O Canada, O Brother, The Sequel

Go Canada!
Originally uploaded by Michael Caswell
Here's another pic from Flickr that was taken on the streets of Vancouver yesterday.

I'm not sure what to say about this dude. I think that's an inflatable suit he's wearing but who knows -- maybe one Molson led to another to another.

--Steve Hymon

O Canada, O Brother

I found this photo on Flickr taken on the streets of Vancouver minutes after Canada beat the Americans yesterday in the Olympic gold medal game.

Can't say I liked the result of the game, but you have to admire the passion.

--Steve Hymon